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ABS226 - Learning as an activist trajectory: “First Steps into Activism”

2.1 Learning and development in onsite communities and online spaces
Paper in a Working Group Roundtable (WGRT)
3:50 PM, Wednesday 30 Aug 2017 (1 hour)
Convention Center - 2000 A - Table E
The critical qualitative research took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, and focused on a group of young people who were learning to become activists through participation in a youth-driven organization, “Think Again” (TA).  Conceptualizing TA using a community of practice lens provided an opportunity to examine, with young people, alternative places of learning. I utilized a narrative framework (Bruner, 1990) to analyze observations and field notes, interviews, and cultural artifacts to explore what youths’ participation at TA meant to them.

Through their participation and their reflections about their participation the youths’ co-constructed a narrative of learning as an activist trajectory. In so doing, they articulated unique, varied, and divergent meanings of their participation that coalesced around a shared story of TA as a particular place of learning that was organized toward the goal of positive social change. Importantly, the meanings and significance of this narrative and the stories within it are multiple, social, and situated. In this paper, I focus on two key interrelated stories that are situated within the narrative of learning as an activist trajectory: 1) community building, and 2) taking a stand. The youths’ stories about their participation provide insight into their learning trajectories that were situated within the broader system of relations whereby TA was involved in the production of a community of youth activists working toward a broad social movement.
Penn State University
Assistant Professor
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